Southern California high school closed over online threats

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 18, 2014 2:39 PM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A high school in a Southern California beach town was closed on Tuesday over threats made on the social media application Yik Yak, which allows users to post anonymously, officials said.

Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, an affluent oceanside community just south of Los Angeles, was briefly on lockdown on Monday over an online threat, said the city's schools superintendent, Michael Matthews.

"If you go to Costa you should watch out very closely at school today," police quoted the online threat posted on Yik Yak as saying, adding that other threats were made later on Monday.

"Nice try costa, today was just a drill," Matthews said one of the threats read, while another post made reference to school shootings.

Yik Yak, a social media application available on smartphones, acts like a local bulletin board that allows a user to anonymously post statements that other people in the user's immediate geographic area can see.

Mira Costa's principal posted a message to the school's website late on Monday saying the campus would be closed on Tuesday as school officials continued working with police investigating the threat.

"It is concerning, however we are working with the police to really know how credible these threats are," Matthews said, adding that no one has been arrested in connection with the threat.

Yik Yak has been used to make threats that have affected other U.S. schools previously.

Last month, a New Jersey high school closed early one day because of threats made on the application, and earlier this month students at schools in the Ohio town of Washington Court House were prohibited from wearing backpacks because of a bomb threat made on Yik Yak, according to local media reports.

A representative for Yik Yak could not be reached for comment, and a Manhattan Beach police spokeswoman did not return calls.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)